Economics and Politics: Perspectives on the Goals and Future of Antitrust
Jonathan B. Baker
American University - Washington College of Law
January 13, 2013
81 Fordham Law Review 2175 (2013)
This article examines the roles of economics and politics in U.S. antitrust from several perspectives. It explains why the modern debate over the economic welfare standard that enforcers and courts should pursue is unsatisfying. It connects economics and politics by describing antitrust’s economic goals as the product of a mid-20th century political understanding about the nature of economic regulation that has continued in force to this day. To protect that understanding, it explains, antitrust rules should now be implemented using a qualified consumer welfare standard. The article also identifies contemporary political tensions that threaten to create regulatory gridlock, or even to undermine the political understanding, and uses that framework to sketch several possible futures for competition policy. The article concludes with a comment on the indispensable role of economics in shaping and applying modern antitrust.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
JEL Classification: K21
Date posted: January 13, 2013 ; Last revised: April 30, 2013
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